Singer-Songwriter • Activist • Writer

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A natural-born storyteller with the polish of an accomplished actress and the authentic edge of a seasoned blues musician.

Seattle Weekly


Featured Track: “I wanna see you be brave.”

Music is the art form we turn to when we need to build bridges and make ourselves plainly understood.

In January 2020, the United States was in crisis. The president was holding vital defense support to Ukraine hostage as a means of coercing their government into investigating the son of a political rival.

My civil disobedience action inside the Senate’s Russell Rotunda – performing Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” in an area where protest is strictly forbidden – was a call on Republican Senators to join Democrats in voting to remove that corrupt president from office.

More Music

Everyone You’ll Be EP • Studio Album Release Date: Feb 2024
Home demos…

Tae Phoenix · The Girls You'll Be Demos
Deep Cuts

Tour Dates

Boston8/7/23TBABerklee Performance Center*
Boston8/8/233:30pmCafe 939
New York8/14/236pmRockwood Music Hall
Washington, DC8/17/232-4pmWOWD Radio
Reston, VA8/18/236pmLake Anne Plaza
* I am a backup singer as part of a larger ensemble.

Bio / Artist Statement

My name is Tae Phoenix and my favorite party game is “two truths and a lie.” See if you can guess which is which:

The answer is in the footer of the website.

My work is about themes that everyone can relate to on some level: rejecting conformity, embracing authenticity, and finding the connections between healing ourselves and building the world we want.

Sometimes, when I’m stuck on where a musical idea belongs, I’ll write lyrics from the perspective of a fictional character and see where that takes me. I love this approach because I tend to obsess over stories: telling them, absorbing them, analyzing them. It doesn’t really matter as long as I’m immersed. I’ve written songs that started out as screenplays and the beginnings of musicals that I originally thought were novels. It all makes me ridiculously happy.

My favorite thing about using music as a storytelling vehicle is that a well-timed and well-written song can convey a tremendous amount of information just with the placement of a quarter note rest. I learned this the first time I performed in a Sondheim show. (“Into the Woods.”) I looked at the score, thought, “wow! It’s turtles all the way down, “and never looked back.

The performing arts world is a wonderful place for many reasons, but it’s also not an easy space for me to enter. As an Autistic, I get easily overwhelmed by loud, chaotic environments like music clubs. In a people-oriented business, missing a social cue, facial expression, or change in tone of voice can have implications that aren’t always obvious in the moment. One of my goals as I work in this space is to build more inclusive and accessible spaces for “neuro-spicy” artists and our supporters.



Music & Lyric Videos

Did Beyoncé Lip Sync? Why it Matters.


I don’t need to rehash the speculative firestorm* about Beyoncé lip syncing her performance of the Star Spangled Banner at the Inauguration on Monday; but since some very prominent folks are asking whether it even matters, I feel the need to weigh in.

It matters. A lot.

Twenty-first century Western culture is hideously narcissistic. We’re surrounded by glossy exteriors that desperately cover even the tiniest flaw. Our culture tells us to be ashamed of our brokenness and horrified that someone might find out we’re not perfect.

The result is millions of Photoshopped ads, pornography that looks nothing like real human sexual interaction, music that’s had the soul autotuned out, professional athletes taking drugs to make them seem superhuman, and the rich telling the rest of us that they got it all through “hard work” alone.

Live music is supposed to help us cut through all that garbage by being entirely spontaneous and of-the-moment. It’s supposed to take us where we’ve never been before and will never go again. It shows the artist as they are, flaws and all. It hangs in the air for an instant and then vanishes; and in doing so it puts artist and audience in touch with the upside of mortality.

Studio music is different. When you’re making a packaged product, you polish things. I’ll admit, Pete and I used a touch of autotune here and there while we were mixing Rise; because like even the best singers, I sometimes go a little flat or sharp. We also did about fifteen takes of every song and spliced together the best phrases from each take. Everyone does this with studio music, and everyone knows it; but it’s not supposed to happen live.

That’s why, when you set the expectation that you’re playing live, but you lip sync to a track that you made in a studio using the process I described above, you make control and perfection a higher priority than authenticity and vulnerability; and in so doing you rob your performance of its living force. So if Beyoncé did indeed lip sync, it matters a great deal and it was a crappy thing for her to have done. I hope next time she sings the Star Spangled Banner, we get to hear the magic of her extraordinary voice in the moment and enjoy a miracle nobody has ever heard before.

* Nothing has been proven conclusively one way or the other; but compared to Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor’s performances, Beyoncé’s did sound oddly perfect. There wasn’t a breath out of place or a flat note. Even Christina Aguilera hit some flat notes in her recent performance at the People’s Choice Awards. I don’t know for certain that Beyoncé’s performance was autotuned, but it sure seems that way when I listen to it.

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